Benoni pilot ‘broke law’ in Addo air crash

A combination of factors – including disorientation, stormy weather and thick mist – resulted in the plane crash at Addo Elephant National Park last year.

Businessman and pilot Clifton Pike, 50, was killed in the January crash.

The findings are contained in a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) report released last week.

The Benoni man was killed when his single-seater plane crashed into a mountain. The report is 54 pages long. It states that Pike and two other pilots were flying together in separate planes at the outset.

They had been warned by the SA Weather Office about bad weather conditions and told not to fly.

Investigators noted that one of the pilots returned to Port Alfred six minutes after takeoff when she realised that thick mist and stormy weather conditions were not ideal. “I very quickly realised that this was not for me, I didn’t need to fly any further to see the conditions,” she is quoted as saying in the report.”

Neither of the survivors is named in the report.

The findings also state that an unused parachute was found near the crash site.

“The parachute was an emergency device, which the pilot could have utilised to bail out,” the report states.

The accident site was described as being “above that of human tolerance”.

The conclusion states both pilots violated aviation law by flying in low-lying clouds.

“This is an ongoing aviation safety violation, which can be avoided if proper flight planning is adhered to and discipline and respect for human life is exercised,” the report states.

-Gareth Wilson

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